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INEGI installs the first high-performance 3D metal printing technology robot of large dimension in Portugal

04 March 2020

The technology is called DED (Directed Energy Deposition) and is a typology of 3D printing or metallic additive manufacturing, which has been showing high benefits for the industry, particularly in the sectors of Aeronautics, Space, Energy and Molds.

High production rate, production capacity for large complex parts and combination of different materials are some of the factors that distinguish this high performance technology.

The laboratory cell installed at INEGI is the first in the country and includes the robot, as well as its monitoring system within the framework of Industry 4.0. That is, with the help of sensors, it is possible to collect data, in real time, related to temperature or deposition of metallic dust, for example, which in an industrial context can help optimize production processes.

"There are case studies that report a reduction of costs up to 30%, for small series, and 50% in the reduction of development and production times. They are very expressive indicators, which demonstrate the potential of this technology for companies”, explains Luís Oliveira, specialist in Additive Manufacturing at INEGI.

As part of the mobilizing project Add.Additive - add additive manufacturing to Portuguese industry, led by the Portuguese metalworking company ADIRA, together with 24 entities among companies and institutions in the National Scientific and Technological System, INEGI has the responsibility to investigate the
additive manufacturing technology, now on the premises.

"The technology we are developing is based on direct energy deposition, but it also includes other stages such as post-processing for finishing (subtractive) and dimensional control, with a high degree of precision and quality. It’s in this extra feature, so to speak, that the main differentiating element resides”, explains Luís Oliveira.

The surface finish is one of the main disadvantages of the technology under study, so INEGI is also developing a hybrid process that combines additive and subtractive manufacturing, to allow an advanced surface finish in production.

The consortium responsible for the Add.Additive project has a budget of around 9.8 million euros, to research, innovate and develop additive manufacturing in the Portuguese industry, namely in metallic, ceramic and cementitious, polymeric materials, as well as methodologies and digital systems, aiming to answer economic, social and environmental challenges.

Architecture and construction, aerospace, defense and security, consumer goods, health and biofabrication, electronics or transport are the sectors identified as direct beneficiaries of the results achieved by this project.

The Add.Additive project is funded under the Compete 2020, Portugal 2020 and European Regional Development Fund programs and has an implementation deadline until the end of 2020.
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